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SkinStudio is a program that allows users to create visual styles for Windows XP and Windows Vista. These visual styles are applied by the popular GUI skinning program, WindowBlinds.  A fully complete visual style will change the title bars, borders, push buttons, scrollbars, Start bar, Start menu, and virtually every other part of the Windows GUI.

SkinStudio 6 represents a complete rewrite of previous versions of SkinStudio.  The new version is designed to make it much easier for new users to get into skinning. Skinners can change as much or little of the GUI as they choose and SkinStudio will fill in the rest for them.

Features of SkinStudio

  • Support for animated please wait
  • WindowBlinds layer support
  • NWA compression for animation [ED: Yes that stands for Neil WindowBlinds Animation)
  • Per pixel borders support layers & glyphs
  • Skin re-coloring
  • More user friendly than previous SkinStudio
    • Task Oriented Design
    • Clean New Interface
    • Supports New Vista Features
      • Sidebar support
      • Vista Start Menu Buttons
      • Edit Vista Control Panel and navigation parts
      • Support for Internet Explorer 7
      • Taskdialog controls
      • Vista Explorer: Command Bar, Information Pane, List View, Please Wait screen, etc.
      • Explorer background
  • Theme Part Details tab that visually displays components of the skin for easy access
  • Improved support for title bar buttons.  Easily change the per-pixel settings.
  • Improved support for adding glow effects
  • Improved support for making sub-styles

  • System Requirements 
    • Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) and Windows XP/2003
    • 1GHz or faster processor recommended
    • 120MB free drive space (including the pre-requisite of installing WindowBlinds)
    • 512MB RAM
    • Note: A 16MB DirectX 8 or later compatible video card with appropriate driver support is required for per-pixel alpha-blended skins. Some integrated graphics solutions and lower-end cards from before 2004 may not be able to use per-pixel skins.

    The most convenient way to get updates for WindowBlinds is by installing Stardock Central (SDC), which requires internet connectivity.  With SDC you can register your Stardock products, download updates, join in discussions, chat, read Stardock news, browse for other software, visit the Stardock web site, get new visual styles, purchase software, and blog.  The SDC will display what version of WindowBlinds you have installed and the version number of any available update.  WindowBlinds is listed under Object Desktop  software.

    If you decide not to install Stardock Central, you can get updates from: .  Type in the Email address you used when ordering WindowBlinds originally and an Email will be sent to you with a link to the latest version (build).

    Using Visual Styles (Skins) 

    The following is a list of common file types found in SkinStudio:

    • .SSS - are substyles, slightly different versions of the skin.
    • .UIS - is an INI type text file with instructions for WindowBlinds on how to handle the substyle.  See for information on the UIS Language.
    • .WBA - is a compressed ZIP file containing a skin downloaded from the internet.  It includes all of the files that make up a skin (i.e. SSS, UIS, BMP, TGA, JPG).
    • .ZIP - of a skin downloaded from the internet, and may contain all of the above plus other files (i.e. BMP, TGA, JPG).
    Using Visual Styles (Skins) 
    To use the visual styles (or skins) that are created using SkinStudio, you need to have WindowBlinds installed.  You can find more information about WindowBlinds at

    Please contact Stardock Support at:  When contacting Support regarding software issues, please include information such your Operating System, version numbers, etc.  This and information about the type of computer you're running will help Stardock Support respond in a timely fashion.

    The majority of the screenshots in this documentation are from Windows Vista, with some from Windows XP.  Unless a screenshot is noted as being for Windows XP, assume it's from Vista.  Some features are only visible in Vista or XP, these will be noted.

    Please email comments or corrections regarding this documentation to:


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